Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler: What Went Right for Lawler
Robbie Lawler has an assured reputation in MMA. Despite an average 20-9 record with more than one back-to-back loss in his career, he had a remarkable 16 knockouts to his credit when he stepped into the cage against Josh Koscheck at UFC 157 last Saturday.
Before the first round had ended, he extended that number to 17.
Lawler was fighting for the first time in the UFC after having been ejected in 2004. The fight was also his first at welterweight since that time, and the weight cut proved to be the right move.
Make no mistake, Koscheck is a dangerous fighter, but he looked positively diminutive in the face of a 171-pound Lawler.
That size advantage could have been key to why Kos' elite wrestling was so ineffective.
Kos had done his homework on Lawler and wanted nothing to do with his opponent's stand-up as the fight got under way. With the sounding of the first bell, he went straight for Lawler's legs and began working for a takedown.
But Lawler stood strong, and by the time the two were up against the cage, he took the dominant position.
Lawler too, had done his homework.
His takedown defense allowed him to keep the fight where he wanted—on his feet—and it was a game plan implemented perfectly.
He only needed a brief window of opportunity, when he managed to create enough space between the two in the clinch, for him to land one powerful shot which had Kos hitting the mat.
The blow itself looked innocuous, an almost half hook/half uppercut, but it did its job. One more Lawler bomb was enough for referee Herb Dean to step in and end the fight.
Some could argue that the stoppage was early and Kos should have at least been given a moment to fight back. Perhaps that's true. However, we saw little of Kos in over three minutes of the first round that indicated he was a threat to Lawler.
Lawler’s game plan was masterfully executed and his win now puts him in at No. 10 in the UFC rankings after only his first fight.
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